It’s been great working directly with the authors. Especially when they see their book for the first time. For some of them, it’s been a lifelong dream. I’ve seen smiles, I’ve seen tears of joy… it’s awesome to be a part of it all. A few, like Lori Nelson (Hillary’s Big Business Adventure), have hired me to do a second book. And Sabrina Carter has come back for thirds (Please Don’t Yell at We!; My Hair is Curly; Please Won’t You Listen to Me?) I may be stuck with her for the rest of my life!
I like the fact that these books have all been near and dear to their hearts. Margo Candelario wrote a book about her three daughters dealing with the loss of their dad called Looking to the Clouds for Daddy. It’s a great book for any kid who has lost a loved one. But a big publisher may never take a chance on a book like that since it probably won’t sell a million copies. But it’s an important book.
And Dr. Courtney Davis wanted to teach people about all of the great things about where she lives with A is for Anacostia, a really cool community outside of Washington, DC.
What has been your favorite project to work on?
It’s really hard to pick one since I love to draw and I don’t take on any projects that I don’t like and won’t be proud to show to my own kids. I have two sons who act as my editors. I also have fun doing Flash animation, check out Confronting the Black Superheroes of My Childhood and The Randy Moss Driving School on YouTube.
You have been working as an illustrator for years, has the new technology affected how you work on new projects?
Definitely. The cartoons I just mentioned are done in Flash. I drew all of the artwork directly on the computer as opposed to on paper, then scanning it. And with the Looking to the Clouds for Daddy book, I used photographs along with my illustrations. Plus I can do an entire book on my own, without help from anyway. That’s great!
Are you currently working on any projects that we can look forward to?
I just finished writing two novels aimed at the middle grade/young adult market. And these are full chapter books. The one that I did on my own is over 50,000 words. I think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. The second was written by networking superstar George Fraser (frasernet.com) and his sister Emma about their lives growing up in the foster care system. Both have just been completed so I’m in the process of shopping for either an agent, or submitting directly to a publisher. So I’ll take any advice that your audience would like to offer.